PRICE: €249, Upgrade €135
OTHER EDITIONS: Standard, €149 Lite, free
REQUIRES: Cinema 4D R13 or later
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows / Mac OS X
- Multi-threaded emitter evaluation
- SPH fluid system and multi-physics
- Skinner object for fluid meshes
- New modifiers including Attractor, Follow Spline, Morph
- Volume shader particle rendering system
The X-Particles plug-in provides an entire particle system. It is tightly integrated into Cinema 4D and offers the depth and functionality of Thinking Particles without all that messing about with nodes.
It employs traditional emitters (either primitives or Cinema 4D objects) and then affects the particles using modifiers. These allow you to do almost anything you can think of to the particles. X-Particles 2.0 has 24 modifiers, which you can mix and match to achieve the result you’re after.
X-Particles’ Question and Action system provides more precise control by evaluating the simulation and locating any particles that fulfil certain criteria – particle age, distance travelled, collision status, index and so on. You can then apply an Action to the selected particles, modifying their form, colour, path and behaviour. There are 22 Question parameters, each with several Modes, and 28 Actions with numerous options. Given that you can stack multiple Questions and Actions, you have a practically limitless amount of possibilities. It may not actually be infinite, but it’s close enough. A really cool addition is the Trail object.
This generates splines and is compatible with the Hair and Sketch and Toon shaders for some truly unique effects. However, it can also connect particles using different algorithms, creating complex networks of splines that are ideal for cyberspace data, chemical sequences, or funky mograph scenes.
Owners of the Pro system are treated to the first version of X-Particle’s fluid dynamics system, which allows you to make basic liquids and multi-physics simulations – if you’ve ever eyed up Softimage’s Lagoa plug-in, you’ll know what I mean.
The fluid system allows you to make the particles move as if part of a flowing substance, splashing and coalescing in a realistic fashion, and the Skinner object can then used to mesh the particles into a continuous surface.
The fluid system works well, although the Skinner object does tend to err on the blobby side. (Fewer particles are better.) But by the developer’s own admission, this isn’t Navié Effex or RealFlow; it’s a fun way to generate liquid movement and create basic fluid-type effects.
However, I did find the multi-physics much more entertaining. This system applies bonds between each particle; creating more of a pliable substance that can bounce around and, under the right circumstances, break into chunks.
I happily spent an evening making creations that had the constituency of jelly, molten metal or cake, but it does takes a lot of experimentation to get the right result and simulation times rise rapidly with the particle count. For really complex sims, you’re potentially talking days to simulate; however, the process is fascinating and very addictive.
The overall experience of X-Particles 2.0 is of a system that’s been lovingly designed and implemented to offer a huge amount of power, yet still be user-friendly. No matter what you do with Cinema 4D, you’d be crazy not to add this to your menu bar.
- Easy to get great results quickly
- Deep levels of control
- Vast array of options and tools
- Fluids/Skinner requires experimentation
- Complex multi-physics slow to simulate
- Cache files can be massive
X-Particles 2.0 is a fine example of combining power with user-friendliness. Thoroughly recommended
Steve Jarratt has been into CG for many years. He’s a regular contributor to 3D World and edited the magazine for two years
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